As I am going over the parameters of the practice test we’re about to take, I notice her pass him a spiral notebook. Kids pass notes that way these days: they would fill a whole spiral notebook with slang-filled (and profanity filled for some) notes if a teacher doesn’t confiscate it. I ask him to put it up; he continues writing. I continue giving instructions, then tell him to put it up. He continues writing.
I take the notebook away from him, and he pulls another sheet of paper from his binder, with a smirk. I tell him, “Mr. S, don’t do it.” He continues writing. I let him write the note as I continue addressing the class then take it from him as he folds it. He takes another sheet of paper from his binder and begins again.
How many times could we continue this? By handling it this way, am I not just building steam in him, potentially creating a bigger issue shortly? If I were the type of teacher to do something deliberately provocative, I could push the kid to an anger that would get the best of him and give me something I could easily write him up for. These kids are so easily provoked, so easily manipulated, so short tempered, so fragile.
In the end, I just send him out of the room before either of us provoke the other any further.